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All Critics (2)
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Colorful, cartoonish fun, with an improved Toho Kong who eventually battles a 'robot Kong' created by evil Dr. Who (Hideyo Amamoto), variously described as 'an Oriental skeleton,' 'an international Judas' and 'a devil who lies like a gutter rat.' Ouch.
Weird and random without being particularly memorable, and it's very difficult to feel even a little bit sad that Toho never bothered trying to get Kong back after this picture.
Wait, King Kong escaped? Why, that's never happened before ever! How is it that we could never keep him chained up for more than just a couple hours on several occasions without him ripping through some kind of major city, and before that, a bunch of super-religious native tribes managed to keep him stuck behind a big wooden fence for centuries without us even knowing about it? It would seem as though our lust for entertainment at the cost of this poor creature's dignity has finally striked back and showed us the errors of ways in the hardest of fashions... you liberal hippies. There's no morality to it; if you stick Sir Reginald Lionel von Hammersmark on an island with someone else long enough, some cannibalism's going to start going down with a spot of tea, because you just can't stick any animal in an environment it doesn't like without it going - pun obviously intended - "ape", let alone when the place you're taking it from is a big island where it was treated like a god and served women regularly. Heck, just being stuck in Japan is enough to drive me up the tallest structure in a city, or maybe I'm just saying that because the pacing on these Japanese "King Kong" films are so slow, that I feel like I've been stuck here forever. It doesn't help that this world is bone dry and mediocre, or at least that was case with "King Kong vs. Godzilla", which was such a mess, whereas this film is, well, also a mess, made so by its fair share of flaws.
As much as I complain about the pacing on these Jap "Kong" films, this film isn't slowly-paced; oh no, it's pace"less". The runtime does not feel overdrawn, yet neither does it feel smooth; only palpable, with most every second really weighing down on you, and that's only a problem if the film itself is with a dry aura. Well, ladies and gentlemen, sure enough, while this film isn't as bone dry as "KK vs. GZ", there's very little oomph pumped into this film, making it frequently disengaging, if not just plain boring at times. Don't expect to be kept going by the Japanese performances, as there is very little material for them, and definitely don't expect to be kept going by the English dub, because it often falls pretty flat. The only thing worse than the Americans' voice acting is, well, the Americans' onscreen acting, or at least the acting of Linda Miller, who is so wooden, so cheesy, so empty of presence and generally so unfathomably, seriously-you-have-to-see-how-bad abysmal that she left me with the sneaking suspicion that the Americans were originally supposed to be subtitled in the Japanese version, but after the filmmakers saw Miller's acting, they had to bring in voice performers to dub over her and, by consistency's sake, everyone else in Japanese. Of course, in the English version, you get the full treatment of bad acting by Miss Miller, yet even if her acting was better - and that's a really big "if" -, you still wouldn't be too invested in her character, just like your not too invested in anyone else's character, because most every member of this cast is, like the film's story itself, so generic and underdeveloped. For all extents and purposes, this should, at best, be as mediocre as "KK vs. GZ". However, as messy as this film is, it never slips down to that level of mediocrity, for although this film slips up in a lot of spots, it has something that its counterpart didn't have: charm, as it lacks something that the counterpart did have: pretense.
What made the "King Kong vs. Godzilla" such a fall-flat experience was the fact that it was such a mess, yet held itself in such high regard. Sure, it never placed itself so high on the pedestal that when it slipped, it would have fallen to a state of simply being despicably mean-spirited, yet it was such a dry over-production that sensory overload set in and left the film to rarely raise above mediocre. There's plenty of things about this film that's all-out bad and a good couple of points where it slips into mediocrity, yet the film makes no pretentions about itself, dialing down on the scope and convolution that made the counterpart so noisy and uninteresting. There's an aura of charm in the simplicity of this film, and for every slow spot, every storytelling misstep and, well, at least half of every moment of bad acting by Linda Miller, you're still kept going by the genuine atmosphere that makes the film more enjoyable than not, as well as more intriguing. If you thought the effects and action in "KK vs. GZ" were shoddy, here, in spite of some bright spots in production, the effects are even messier and the action is even more repetitive and underwhelmingly staged, yet it's all more engaging, because this film actually pulls back and meditates on its story, which is absolutely ridiculous, yet charmingly so. The film embraces its missteps and lands its tongue in its cheek firmly enough for it to be enjoyable for as many good reasons as bad reasons. It's still no truly good film by any stretch of the imagination, yet it's still pretty decent and watchable at the end of the day, made so by more effort and less pretense, a combination that wins you over more often than not.
Overall, like its counterpart, "King Kong vs. Godzilla", this film is messily-produced and riddled with sometimes disengaging missteps from a substance standpoint, only with a little bit more flat, if not just plain awful - in the case of Linda Miller - acting, yet what leaves this film to relatively succeed and deliver more than "KK vs. GZ" is the fact that it neither convolutes or oversells itself to the point of becoming unintriguing; only embraces its tongue-in-cheek aspects and creates an undeniably engaging aura of charm and entertainment, leaving "King Kong Escapes" to stand as an absolute mess, yet a perfectly watchable - nay - rather enjoyable one.
2.5/5 - Fair
Unfortunately I caught this one on TV recently. It's like the makers of the series of Godzilla movies decided to make one with King Kong instead, which is a stupid idea in the first place. This movie is mindless, and stupid, I didn't care for it at all, and I don't recommend it.
King Kong gets the Godzilla treatment.
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